Take it for what it’s worth- the Seahawks have been connected to two little known small school prospects in the past few days. Seattle showed interest in many players they did not draft last year, and often teams show interest in the players they don’t want, while never talking about the ones they do. They did interview Russell Wilson at the Senior Bowl last year, and there were reports that they showed interest in players like Korey Toomer and Jeremy Lane last year, which was the only reason I even knew enough to mention them before that draft.
One of these players of interest is a 5’10” corner from Southeastern Louisiana by the name of Robert Alford. You can watch his tape above. That a player like this even has a 9 minute compilation video on youtube is pretty amazing. I really have to commend youtube users for working overtime this year. It is greatly appreciated.
Here is the article, and the quote that links Alford to Seattle:
“There’s no question he’s going to blow the Combine out of the water,” Golding said. “He’s a Combine guy. As far as running and agility and drills, he’ll be one of the top corners if not the top corner.”
Golding’s concern was how Alford would perform at the Senior Bowl with a totally new defense and new responsibilities. The reports were positive. Many NFL scouts are telling the coach that there’s “no doubt” Alford will be a second-round pick. Seattle, Cincinnati and Baltimore have particularly shown interest.
Alford plays far off the football, struggles with blocks and at times lacks physicality. He wasn’t challenged very much though, and most of his tackles were on screens or passes that targeted other defensive players. I hate the term “raw”, because it’s both vague and overused, but I think it’s safe to say that Alford isn’t yet impressive. Or as Pete Carroll would probably think, Alford’s best football is still ahead of him.
Judging athleticism from a video isn’t a perfect science. “Sneaky fast” isn’t just a cliche, field speed can be notoriously tough to quantify. Consider Leon Washington, who doesn’t explode so much as glide, and yet he is one of the most prolific return men in NFL history. His speed is real, even if he looks like he’s running slower than he’s capable of. Alford has a similar gliding style of acceleration and speed, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s an effective kick returner himself, and his opponents know it.
I’m not excited about Alford, but I am interested to see what he does at the combine. I don’t think Seattle would take a corner in the top two rounds, but it never hurts to do you homework.
The other player connected to Seattle was right tackle Jordan Mills from Louisiana Tech. This information was second hand and came from the twitter page of Scott Bischoff.
Hearing that Seattle likes Louisiana Tech RT Jordan Mills a lot, earlier than you would think. He fits their running style perfectly.
— Scott Bischoff (@Bischoff_Scott) February 18, 2013
Hard to know what “earlier than you would think” means exactly. Mill’s stock ranges from 3rd round to 5th round. It’s not much, but below is a short video that shows 3 plays by Jordan Mills.
Obviously, I can’t scout from so little, but physically he reminds me of James Carpenter- very similar size and more of a mauler than an athlete. Shows pretty good technique on the cut block and uses his arms well. Feet seem slow, but then again he’s up against Damontre Moore in this clip. He plays for the same team as Quinton Patton, so it could be worth checking out his pass protection in those videos.
Of course, it’s lying season, so it’s hard to tell if this interest is real at all. I tend to lean towards “legit” ever so slightly, if only because we’re talking about a classic “coach him up” raw athlete at corner who fits Pete well, and a bulldozer at right tackle seems to fit Tom Cable’s modus operandi. Where they actually end up drafted, who knows?
If nothing else, we can probably now deduce that corner and tackle are areas the Seahawks are looking at. Either they really are interested in these players, or they are creating a smoke screen to distract from the players at those positions that they really like. If they wanted to distract us with false interest, they wouldn’t use a corner to distract from a safety or a linebacker. The tactic goes beyond simple deception- it’s main purpose is to help encourage players they are less interested in get selected ahead of players they are more interested in for a given position.
Last year John Schneider talked up Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, and even Austin Davis and Chandler Harnish, but rarely if ever talked about Russell Wilson. I even said at the time that I thought that Schneider was probably talking up those players to help them get drafted before Wilson or Cousins.
It’s possible we could be seeing the same thing here- with Pete and John trying to muddy an already murky draft pool.
Or, we could be looking at two future Seahawks. I guess we’ll find out.